How to Know if a Keyboard Is Compatible With Your PC

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How to Know if a Keyboard Is Compatible With Your PC

Upgrading your keyboard is a relatively simple and rewarding task. Naturally, your factory-built computer will likely come with a standard keyboard, so upgrading to a mechanical or RGB option is a good idea. However, before making any purchases, it’s best to ensure the keyboard is compatible with your PC.

The following sections of this article will teach you how to assess whether a keyboard is compatible with your PC and what to do if you run into roadblocks. Fortunately, most keyboards are compatible, but there are always exceptions to the rule. Follow along with us to ensure everything will work together harmoniously.

Understanding Keyboard and PC Compatibility

Keyboards are simple peripherals that can be compatible with any PC. This is fortunate because it’s unlikely that you’ll find one that’s genuinely incompatible with your equipment. In addition, there are some instances where you’ll run into issues with the keyboard and PC, but those are typically easily remedied.

Unlike motherboards and GPUs, there aren’t a lot of incompatibility issues with keyboards. Typically, as long as they have compatible connection software and you can install the drivers, you’re good to go.

Different Types of Keyboard Connections

One of the first things you’ll notice about your keyboard is how it connects to your PC. Whether you have a custom-built or factory computer, it must have the correct ports or Bluetooth hardware to work.

The most common ports we see on keyboards today are:

  • USB Type-A
  • USB Type-C
  • Bluetooth
  • HDMI

You’ll need to ensure your computer has compatible ports and hardware. Fortunately, this is a simple task, and we’ll talk more about it in the section How To section of this article.

Differences in Software and Age

Connectivity isn’t the only compatibility issue that you’ll run into. Sometimes, outdated software or an older machine won’t work with newer keyboards and vice versa. Naturally, the connectors likely wouldn’t fit anyway (we don’t see 5-pin DIN connectors anymore), but software and drivers can be another issue.

For example, if you’re trying to pair a brand new keyboard with a 1995 HP, the software likely won’t work. In addition, keyboards need drivers to communicate with Windows. You will encounter compatibility issues if the drivers aren’t compatible or the keyboard hasn’t been pre-installed.

How to Know if a Keyboard Is Compatible with a PC

Now that you know it’s plausible your keyboard is compatible, it’s time to take a deep dive into the peripheral and your PC to be sure.

Step One: Check the Connections

Perhaps you’re shopping on Amazon for a new keyboard and unsure if the ones you like will connect to your PC. Fortunately, that part is simple. You can do this on any website that sells keyboards, we’re just using Amazon as an example.

Go to the specifications and look at the Connectivity option. In our example, this one has an HDMI cable. So, as long as your PC has a working HDMI port, we can keep moving and checking things off our list.

Keyboard PC
The “See More” option in the specification list shows the keyboard’s connectivity information.


Next, look at your PC. You can go to Settings and check for Bluetooth, or look at the case and identify available ports (HDMI, USB-C, USB, etc.).

Step Two: Check Device Compatibility

Admittedly, most keyboards are compatible with most PCs as long as they’re made around the same period. As technology changes, so do our computers and peripherals. Fortunately, we can quickly know if the two devices will work together by going to the manufacturer’s or dealer’s websites and searching for the Compatible Devices section.

We’re using Amazon for our example, but you should be able to find this information on any site.

Keyboard PC
The Compatible Device list will give you more insight into compatibility.


If you cannot find the device compatibility list, a simple Google search will help. You can ask Google “Is the Corsair K100 Compatible with an HP Pavilion desktop?” for example. Knowing the computer’s and keyboard’s make and model, you can quickly determine if the two will work together.

How to Fix Keyboard PC Compatibility Issues

Now that you know what to look for before getting a new keyboard, let’s discuss what to do if you encounter connection issues. As mentioned, keyboards need software and compatible ports to work with a PC.

These hiccups are typically easily rectified. Browse the following sections to overcome any challenges you may encounter.

Get the Right Adaptors

Hopefully, the ports work and you can easily set up your keyboard. However, if you have a broken PC port or no ports that match, you can buy an adaptor for most devices to get your keyboard working.

Although this isn’t ideal, it’s likely your only solution. Fortunately, adaptors are typically cheap and effective devices with multiple uses. So, they’re a wise investment.

Uninstall and Reinstall the Drivers

The most common compatibility issue is nothing more than a driver issue. Fortunately, this is easily corrected. Go to the Device Manager (search for it using the bar at the bottom of the screen) and right-click on your keyboard in the list (you may need to expand the peripherals list). Then, click Uninstall.

Restart your PC and wait for the drivers to reinstall. Then, try using your keyboard again. Also, having a working keyboard nearby is a good idea, just in case the drivers don’t reinstall.

If the drivers are missing, go to the Device Manager and right-click your keyboard in the list. Then, click Update Drivers. If your computer doesn’t find them, it will give you an option to search for them. Follow the on-screen steps to install the drivers for your keyboard.

keyboard computer compatibility
Go to the Device Manager to uninstall and reinstall your drivers.


Perform a Software Update

Sometimes, all you need is a software update. If the software on your PC is too old to recognize a newer keyboard’s drivers, updating the software will fix the problem.

Go to the Control Panel on your PC by clicking the Windows icon in the lower left corner. Click System, then Security. Next, click Windows Update. If there’s one available, click the Update button and wait for it to complete. Then, reinstall the drivers and see if your keyboard works.

keyboard and computer compatibility
Windows Update is located at the bottom left-hand corner of the Settings window.


Wrapping Up

You won’t encounter many compatibility issues with peripherals like keyboards and PCs these days. However, if the ports don’t align or one of your devices is too old to communicate with the other, you will have issues.

Fortunately, most incompatibility problems are easily overcome. If you are having issues with your keyboard, the second section of this article will help you.

  1. CHERRY MX Board 3.0 S Wired Mechanical Keyboard
    • CHERRY MX Silent Red switches
    • 109 keys
    • RGB backlighting
    • USB-A connectivity
    • Aluminum housing with screw-in metal legs
    Buy Now

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    11/30/2023 04:23 am GMT
  2. Redragon K556 PRO Upgraded Wireless Gaming Keyboard
    • RGB backlighting with up to 20 presets
    • 104 keys with Quiet Red switches
    • Hot-swappable
    • USB-C wired, Bluetooth, and 2.4GHz wireless
    • Solid aluminum board
    Buy Now

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    11/30/2023 04:03 am GMT
  3. ASUS ROG Strix Flare (CMSR) RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
    • CHERRY MX Silent Red switches
    • RGB backlighting with Aura Sync
    • USB pass-through
    • 100% anti-ghosting
    • Wired keyboard with under-keyboard cable routing
    Buy Now

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    11/30/2023 04:14 am GMT
  4. Razer BlackWidow V3 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
    • 104 keys with doubleshot ABS keycaps
    • Razer yellow mechanical switches with sound dampeners
    • Actuation point just 1.2mm
    • RGB backlighting
    • USB connectivity
    Buy Now

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    11/30/2023 04:03 am GMT
  5. GLORIOUS GMMK 2 Gaming Mechanical Keyboard
    • Hot-swappable CHERRY MX-style linear switches
    • 96% size with 99 keys with double-shot keycaps
    • Per-key RGB backlighting
    • Wired keyboard
    • Compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac
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    11/30/2023 04:08 am GMT
  6. Razer Phantom Keycap Upgrade Set
    • ABS pudding keycaps with blacked-out, legendless tops
    • Translucent Sides with bottom-lasered legends
    • Includes keycap removal tools and stabilizers
    • Universal compatibility
    • Comes with 105 keys
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    11/30/2023 04:58 am GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an Apple Magic Keybaord compatible with a PC?

Yes. As long as the PC has Bluetooth capabilities, it should be compatible with the Magic Keyboard.

What do I do if my computer doesn't have Bluetooth?

Fortunately, you don’t need to update your PC if it doesn’t have Bluetooth. You can purchase an adaptor to enable Bluetooth capabilities on your PC.

What do I do if I don't have a working keyboard right now?

Windows 10 and 11 have on-screen keyboards that you can enable. Go to Settings>Ease of Access>Keyboard on Windows 10 to enable it. Go to Settings>Accessibility>Keyboard and click the  On-Screen Keyboard button on Windows 11.

Can I use an external keyboard with a laptop?

In most cases, yes. Typically, it should work as long as you have a port to connect the keyboard.

How does a wireless keyboard connect to a PC?

There are two types of wireless keyboards. One connects to your computer using Bluetooth, and the other connects using a detachable USB device.

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